Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remembering Michael Collins on the 90th Anniversary of his death

The grave of Michael Collins, Glasnevin, Dublin
The vases are never empty of flowers, and there are often wreaths or other floral tributes along the sides.
Bronze statue erected to the memory of Michael Collins in Clonakilty, County Cork.
On the Collins' family gravestone in Rosscarbery, West Cork, their youngest son is remembered in a far more simple way.
Copyright©irisheyesjg2012
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dora Sigerson Shorter, Poet & Sculptor, 1866-1918: a tomb with a secret


Dublin born Dora Sigerson was a prolific writer, as well as a self taught painter and sculptor. She produced two novels and more than 20 collections of poetry. One of the most important figures of the Irish Literary Revival, Sigerson produced poetry known for its nationalist bent, and published such titles as The Tri-colour: Poems of the Irish Revolution, The Fairy Changeling, and Madge Linsey and Love of Ireland: Poems and Ballads. In 1895 Dora Sigerson married journalist Clement King Shorter, thereafter publishing under the name Dora Sigerson Shorter. With Clement Shorter she lived out her life in London; however, as per her wishes, her body was returned to Ireland for interment.


In addition to producing written work, Dora Sigerson was also a gifted sculptor. Sigerson designed the memorial to the rebel dead which stands at the center of her own monument, and bequeathed funds in her will for its erection. The white Carrera marble statue is evocative of the Pieta, the depiction of Christ lying dead across his mother Mary's lap, which stands in the Basilica in Rome. The female figure in Sigerson's statue is Mother Ireland and lying across her lap is one of Ireland's lost warriors. The uniform of the warrior figure is clearly that of a 1916 rebel, and his face bears a striking resemblance to that of Pádraig Pearse, perhaps the best known of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.


A secret discovered within

The monument now stands just inside the front gates of Glasnevin Cemetery. As part of the renovation project at Glasnevin the decision was made to restore the memorial; it was in poor condition with weeds growing out of its roof.

A very old, and unfortunately poor quality,  photo of the tomb as it looked originally
During the process of dismantling the monument workers made a very interesting discovery when they removed the canopy which stands over the statue. A long lead cylinder was built into the masonry. The sealed cylinder is a time capsule entombed with Dora Sigerson at the time of her interment. It is purported to contain important documents and ephemera germane to the history of her day. The cylinder was handed over to the Irish government. The contents of the time capsule have not yet been revealed, but may be released at "a more appropriate time" (perhaps 2016, the 100th anniversary of The Rising) or it may be reinterred and left for future generations to discover and open.

*Click on photos to view larger version
Copyright©irisheyesjg2008-2012.

References:
The Irish Times, September 2007
Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Voices on the Wind, Women Poets of the Celtic Twilight, New Island Books, 1995.
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